zondag 26 juni 2011

Doe-het-zelf denkraamverfraaiing

Every thing has its own perfection, be it higher or lower in the scale of things; and the perfection of one is not the perfection of another. Things animate, inanimate, visible, invisible, all are good in their kind, and have a best of themselves, which is an object of pursuit. Why do you take such pains with your garden or your park? You see to your walks and turf and shrubberies; to your trees and drives; not as if you meant to make an orchard of the one, or corn or pasture land of the other, but because there is a special beauty in all that is goodly in wood, water, plain, and slope, brought all together by art into one shape, and grouped into one whole. Your cities are beautiful, your palaces, your public buildings, your territorial mansions, your churches; and their beauty leads to nothing beyond itself. There is a physical beauty and a moral: there is a beauty of person, there is a beauty of our moral being, which is natural virtue; and in like manner there is a beauty, there is a perfection, of the intellect. There is an ideal perfection in these various subject-matters, towards which individual instances are seen to rise, and which are the standards for all instances whatever. The Greek divinities and demigods, as the statuary has moulded them, with their symmetry of figure, and their high forehead and their regular features, are the perfection of physical beauty. The heroes, of whom history tells, Alexander, or Cæsar, or Scipio, or Saladin, are the representatives of that magnanimity or self-mastery which is the greatness of human nature. Christianity too has its heroes, and in the supernatural order, and we call them Saints. The artist puts before him beauty of feature and form; the poet, beauty of mind; the preacher, the beauty of grace: then intellect too, I repeat, has its beauty, and it has those who aim at it. To open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it to know, and to digest, master, rule, and use its knowledge, to give it power over its own faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, eloquent expression, is an object as intelligible [...] as the cultivation of virtue, while, at the same time, it is absolutely distinct from it (John Henry Newman).
Om voor deze mooie arbeid een handvat aan te reiken, staat er - zoals de aandachtigere lezertjes al opgemerkt hebben - sinds kort halverwege de rechterkolom van deze weblog een nieuwe rubriek met de (voorlopige) pseudo-humoristische titel 'Nix te lezen?' Aldaar een aantal werken - onderverdeeld in de categorieën literatuur, geschiedenis, filosofie en theologie - die de afgelopen jaren uw bloghouder geholpen hebben redelijker en christelijker te denken. Als u klikt op een titel, vindt u waar u het boek kunt bestellen, nieuw of tweedehands, indien mogelijk in Nederlandse vertaling.

Voor een evenwichtige denkraamverfraaiing in de zin van Newman is het aan te raden je niet te beperken tot 1 categorie. We citeren 'm nogmaals: "History [...] shows things as they are, that is, the morals and interests of men disfigured and perverted by all their imperfections of passion, folly, and ambition; philosophy strips the picture too much; poetry adorns it too much; the concentrated lights of the three correct the false peculiar colouring of each, and show us the truth".

Misschien vind je iets van je gading voor de zomervakantie. Veel leesplezier!

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